Ladera Ranch, CA – The goal of orthodontics is to provide beautiful smiles that function properly and sometimes that means treating patients before they’ve even lost all of their baby teeth. Some believe that this seems aggressive but the opposite is actually true! It’s more conservative to start at an earlier age as its easier to modify growth which in turn decreases the chances of future extractions and/or surgery.
Dr. Robert Gire and Dr. Reza Salmassian are board certified orthodontists serving the Ladera Ranch area who treat patients of all ages. The following is what they want parents to know about orthodontics at a young age:
- Orthodontics is about much more than just a straight smile. While this is one of the goals of orthodontics it isn’t the only one – just the most noticeable one. Your child’s teeth may appear straight but they could have a bite that is off or even causing uneven wear on primary or adult teeth. A misaligned bite can actually cause quite a bit of damage if not corrected. Due to the uneven amount of pressure a misaligned jaw causes when biting down, patients may end up with broken, cracked, or chipped teeth. Orthodontic treatment works to ensure the bite is properly aligned while also straightening the teeth.
- Your child can visit an orthodontist while he or she still has baby teeth. Many people mistakenly believe orthodontic treatment isn’t needed until the teen years. But in fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children have their first screening at the age of seven. At this time most children will have a mix of permanent and baby teeth, and the orthodontist can see how the smile is shaping up and how the jaws are growing. The orthodontist can tell if your child could benefit from early interceptive treatment that could then make future treatment more efficient and effective.
- Treatment may be indicated while your child is still relatively young but that doesn’t mean your child will be in braces right away. This early treatment, if indicated, will be designed to guide the growth of the jaw(s) to ensure there is adequate space for the permanent teeth to erupt properly. This may or may not involve early braces depending on the patient. Then, once the jaw has been properly guided and all of the permanent teeth have erupted, full treatment to include braces will begin. Starting with guiding the jaw makes the braces phase much more efficient, and reduces the need for tooth extraction due to crowding.
- There are some ways you can tell if your child may need braces. If your child loses a tooth prematurely, the permanent teeth are growing in incorrectly (sideways, behind or on top of other teeth), the jaw doesn’t fit together properly, or if your child has certain habits, such as extended thumb-sucking or pacifier use, can all be indications your child may be a candidate for early orthodontic treatment.
- Every child is unique. You may have multiple children that require different approaches, or one who requires treatment and one who doesn’t. Orthodontic treatment is unique to the individual and will be different for everyone. The only way to know if your child could benefit from treatment and what type of treatment will be best is to see a board certified orthodontist.
- Initial consultations are always free. At the first appointment, the orthodontist will review medical and dental records, do a comprehensive oral exam, take digital X-rays and photos, and determine the appropriate treatment goals. From there, if treatment is indicated, the orthodontist will work up a treatment plan. There is no obligation to continue with treatment at that time, this appointment is complimentary.
Drs. Gire and Salmassian, along with their team at Ladera Orthodontics, are ready to answer any questions you may have about pediatric orthodontics and how it may benefit your child. Contact the Ladera Orthodontics office today to schedule your complimentary consultation (949-272-8782).